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Regional Roundup



CHULA VISTA: City Gives the 411 on New 911 Emergency Call System

Starting March 4, emergency and fire calls made from the city’s residents will be handled by the city of San Diego’s fire rescue dispatch center. The subcontracting arrangement announced Feb. 20 is expected to save the city about $700,000 annually, city officials say.

By merging the dispatch operations with San Diego, the cities say they would eliminate delays that previously existed because of the overlay of services.

Under the contract, the city will pay San Diego $420,000 annually for the next five years for the dispatching service.

, Mike Allen


VISTA: Council Likely to Buy Into Wal-Mart’s Plan to Expand

The proposed expansion for an existing Wal-Mart store in the eastern part of the city was appealed after the project was approved by the Planning Commission in February. The appeal means the project will be reviewed by the City Council, which is likely to approve it, according to Mayor Morris Vance.

Wal-Mart is asking permission to add about 30,000 square feet to an existing store on University Drive. The store would sell both dry goods and food and become the area’s first Supercenter.

, Mike Allen


SAN DIEGO: Caltrans Steers Business to Skanska to Extend SR-905

A Swedish construction group was awarded a contract from the California Department of Transportation to build an extension of state Route 905, it was announced Feb. 19. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Skanska USA Civil, the Whitestone, N.Y.-based division of Skanska AB, will construct the six-lane freeway as well as five bridges, landscaping, storm drains and an irrigation system, and install all signal and safety systems, according to a company news release.

The project will extend the 905 between the U.S.-Mexico border and the city and will eventually connect Interstates 805 and 5.

, Jaimy Lee


SOLANA BEACH: Sunny Day for Fiesta as Belly Up Joins the Party

This year’s Fiesta del Sol festival will be organized by the Chamber of Commerce, the city and the Belly Up Tavern.

It is the first time that the Belly Up has signed as the main entertainment sponsor, said Jon Greene, chamber spokesman. The free event, which provides the chamber with most of its revenue, is scheduled for June 7 and 8 in the Fletcher Cove area. The chamber collects revenue from the event through sponsorships and booth rentals. It does not disclose revenue figures.

, Jaimy Lee


ESCONDIDO: Agreements Help Students, May Cost School Districts

Escondido Union High School District trustees approved transfer agreements with more than 20 other districts throughout San Diego County in a unanimous vote Feb. 19.

Trustees said that they wanted to provide more options for students and families via the agreements, which allow students to attend schools outside of their home districts.

Fewer students enrolled in a district means proportionately less funding for that district, based on the average $5,500 per student that districts receive, according to staff reports.

, Liz Wiedemann


POWAY: New Plans Developing for Affordable-Housing Project

Plans for an affordable-housing project in Old Poway have been scaled back, according to Ingrid Alverde, city housing manager.

The city and its nonprofit partner on the project, the San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation, have changed plans from the original 91 apartments projected to 80 town houses, says Alverde. The estimated cost of the project has not been announced.

The Poway Redevelopment Agency owns the 3.19 acres of land that the city plans to develop on Brighton Avenue.

, Liz Wiedemann


ENCINITAS: Measure Might Be Taxing to Voters, Homeowners

Local voters are set to decide June 3 whether to impose the same occupancy taxes on vacation rentals that hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts are assessed.

The measure, which has been passed by the City Council, would require guests to pay an occupancy tax of up to 10 percent on properties leased for 30 days or fewer, including private homes.

The measure features two separate taxes: an 8 percent tax that goes into the city’s general fund and a 2 percent tax dedicated to replenishing sand on city beaches.

The first initiative requires a simple majority to pass. The second is considered a special tax and requires two-thirds of the vote. Both taxes would take effect Jan. 1.

, Ned Randolph


LA MESA: Businesspeople, Residents Weighing in on Hot Topic

Local residents are invited to participate in a public hearing about possibly restricting smoking in outdoor patios where food is served and in areas of public access where children are present, such as entryways and commercial walkways.

The city’s Community Services Commission is gathering data from surveys distributed to local businesses and residents. The public meeting is set for 6 p.m. March 12 at the Community Center.

, Heather Chambers


SAN MARCOS: Residents’ Guests Will Get to Stay at Residence Inn

A South Carolina developer has been given the green light to build a 112-room Residence Inn by Marriott near the state Route 78 Las Posas Road exit.

City spokeswoman Jenny Peterson says the plans were approved by the Planning Department last month.

OTO Development LLC of Spartanburg, S.C., purchased the 2.26-acre lot from the city in 2007, she says.

“We’re trying to break ground in July or August, obviously the sooner the better,” said Mike Gallen, director of development for OTO, who added that the company paid about $3.9 million for the land.

, Ned Randolph


CORONADO: Carriage House Complaints Roll Toward City Hall

Whoa, Nelly. It seems that in this city, the buildings known as “carriage houses” turn into rentals.

City Hall has received complaints, and the issue rolls back before the City Council on March 18.

Carriage houses are free-standing garages with attached living quarters built in single-family neighborhoods.

The council is fine-tuning some 2005 rules about such outbuildings. New zoning language before the council would discourage rentals and set size limits for carriage houses.

The council took its first look at the zoning language Feb. 19.

The city’s goal is for carriage houses to be for the personal use of the person occupying the main house, according to a legal notice for the hearings.

, Brad Graves


CARLSBAD: Sheraton Resort Opening Proves to Be Grand Affair

A grand opening for the first phase of the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa was held in late February with remarks from Tim Stripe and David Brown, co-presidents of Grand Pacific Resorts Inc., which developed and owns it, as well as congratulatory words from politicians and its neighbor, Legoland California.

The hotel stands on 15 acres about 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego.

The first phase includes 129 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting space and conference facilities, the Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar and the Ocean Pearl Spa. Construction costs have not been disclosed.

, Connie Lewis


NATIONAL CITY: City Has Designs on New Interactive Web Site

The city will soon have a new interactive Web site. The city has been seeking request for proposals to redesign its Web site as part of its new information and technology strategic plan.

The objectives for the new Web site include creating a site that is organized, compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and implements electronic commerce capabilities for collection of fees and fines, and the sale of permits and licenses.

The project has a budget of $100,000 funded in fiscal year 2008.

, Michelle Mowad


DEL MAR: Workers Must Adjust to Changes in Runoff Rules

The city was scheduled to host a public workshop Feb. 25 for area residents and all architects, engineers, landscape architects and contractors doing work here. Meeting topics consisted of the upcoming changes to storm water runoff regulations issued by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. The new requirements go into effect March 25.

, Michelle Mowad


ESCONDIDO: Strassburger Marketing Ready to Promote Firms

Suzanne Strassburger has formed a local company, Strassburger Marketing & Public Relations Services, that will specialize in government, community and media relations, along with the production of promotional materials, including news releases, annual reports and brochures.

She has several years of experience working in executive and marketing positions, primarily for nonprofit and public sector organizations. She was reared in San Diego and earned a degree in journalism from San Diego State University.

, Connie Lewis

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